We are commanded to forgive those that injure us, if we want to be forgiven by God (Matthew 6:14-15). Here are four common misconceptions about forgiveness that make it more difficult to do
It will let the person who wronged you off the hook if you forgive.Forgiveness is about letting go of the right to take revenge into your own hands. When you forgive someone, you turn him/her over to God who judges men righteously and justly. It may not happen in the timing that you would prefer, but it will happen.
The person who wronged you has to apologize first. You are commanded to forgive whether the other person admits the wrong or not and whether the other person apologizes or not. Jesus forgave the people who crucified him while hanging on the cross and they were in the process of cheering his death.
It means you will need to trust the person. Forgiveness is about not getting even; it isn't about giving the person a chance to hurt you again. You shouldn't trust an untrustworthy person. Trust needs to be regained over time. If you trust foolishly, you are almost guaranteeing you will have something else to forgive. Trust is given to people who prove they can do what they promise, who have your best interest in mind, and who have integrity.
It means you need to reconcile with the offender. There are times it is healthy and right to cut off a relationship with someone who repeatedly abuses you, takes advantage of you, hurts you, and makes a relationship so toxic that you have to sever it. This cut off can be for a short time or longer depending on the situation. It should only be used in extreme situations in family relationships, because choosing to not have a relationship with a loved one means that you also face a loss of that relationship and have to work through all the emotions that go along with severing it.
When you correct these four misconceptions about forgiveness, you can work on forgiveness while setting healthy boundaries in your relationships.